The History of Stirling
"Stirling,” one of Berks County's last great residences, is a Chateauesque-styled mansion designed by Harvard-educated American architect, Theophilus P. Chandler (1845-1928). Construction on this great stone mansion began in 1890 and was completed in 1892. Stirling was designed and built for James Hervey Sternbergh (b.5/20/1834 - d.3/3/1913), a Reading iron and steel magnate, on five finely landscaped acres enclosed on three sides by tall wrought iron fencing and on the fourth by large evergreens and shrubs. The Stirling mansion, together with a large Tudor-style carriage house, is bounded by Centre Avenue, Marion, Front, and Robeson Streets. Stirling is one of the finest examples of Chateauesque style architecture in Berks County, if not Eastern Pennsylvania. It was named after Stirling Castle in Scotland which was given its original name for the splendid view it commanded. Erected in 1890-1892 in what was at that time considered the far suburbs of the City of Reading, Stirling is the culmination of architect-client team work by Theophilus P. Chandler and James Hervey Sternbergh.
The mansion remained the private residence of the Sternberghs for over one hundred years. Gertrude Sternbergh (b.5/8/1899 - d. 1/28/1996), the youngest daughter of Mr. Sternbergh, was a lifelong resident, and infused her passion for the arts into the essence and spirit of Stirling. She was hostess to grand concerts which brought talented classical musicians through Stirling’s doors.
In 1998, the Stirling Mansion was purchased by Kaj Skov, an experienced entrepreneur in the hospitality industry. In order to preserve the beauty of the building, yet make it accessible to the public, he converted Stirling into a fifteen-suite guest house. He kept the Stirling’s rich history alive by hosting garden parties, art auctions, as well as continuing to host concerts presented by The Friends of Chamber Music. Furthermore, Stirling functions as a banquet facility for weddings, private dinners, and special events.
At the end of 2009, Mr. Skov retired and passed the care of Stirling on to Peter Sutliff and TJ Sophy. They continue to operate the facility so that many may enjoy and experience the grandeur of Stirling for years to come.